Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Now Su-30 Jets Become ‘Nuclear Capable’ With Hypersonic Kh-32 Missiles

Russia is planning to modify its Su-30SM fighter jet to carry the Kh-32 air-to-surface missile. The Kh-32 will have a range of up to 1000km and would be able to strike targets without getting in range of defending jets.

Amid US-China Row; Japan To Militarize Mage Islands With Stealth F-35 Jets

The SU-30, developed by Sukhoi is considered to be one of the most successful Russian defence export programmes in the past two decades. The Su-30 is the backbone of the Indian Air Force, which operates around 272 Su-30MKI jets, a unique version specifically designed for India.

The Su-30 is in service with about 12 nations including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Algeria and Venezuela. The Russian Air Force also purchased a version of the Su-30 fighter, called the Su-30SM. The Su-30SM first flew in 2012 and the Russian military has ordered around 116 jets.

US analysts have claimed the Kh-32 missile, which uses radar guidance, would allow Russian aircraft to target US Navy aircraft carriers without getting in range of defending fighters. The US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets have a maximum combat radius of around 720 Kilometers only.

Kh-32 / AS-4 "KITCHEN" | Weapons Parade Kh-32 / AS-4 "KITCHEN".
Kh-32

The Kh-32 can carry either a nuclear or conventional warhead. In its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review document, the US Department of Defence categorised the Kh-32 as a nuclear weapons delivery system.

Konstantin Sivkov, a member of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, believes that that Kh-32 also possesses powerful means of breaking through the missile defence system of Aegis Combat System”, equipped with Standard Missile 6 missiles.

The Kh-32 missile is estimated to have a speed of over 3 times the speed of sound, while some Russian media outlets have even claimed it is hypersonic (at least five times speed of sound). The Kh-32 is a heavy weapon, with an estimated weight of nearly six tonnes.

The Kh-32, reportedly, became operational in 2016 and is primarily carried by the Tu-22M3 bomber. Izvestia reported the Kh-32 can be carried on the ‘centreline’ hardpoint under the fuselage of the Su-30SM. Typically, aircraft can carry their heaviest weapons or fuel tanks under the fuselage.

Russia has already mounted hypersonic air-to-surface weapons on a smaller warplane. In 2018, it unveiled the Kinzhal missile, which is believed to have a range of around 2,000km.

The Kinzhal is mounted on the MiG-31 heavy fighter, with the aircraft carrying one missile on its centreline. However, the MiG-31 is an ageing platform, which has been in service since the 1980s.

Adding the Kh-32 to the Su-30SM would bring a considerable boost to the Russian military’s offensive capabilities. Interestingly, it not just Russia which is modifying its Su-30 fighter jet. India is also is modifying the Su-30MKI to carry the air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile. Last month, India ordered an additional 12 Su-30s to bolster its defence amidst rising tensions with China.

Featured

Pakistani Anchor Grilled Over Pro-India Comments; Pak Celebrities Come To The Rescue

Pakistani TV presenter Iqrar ul Hassan Syed, who hosts the popular show, 'Sar-e-Aam', on ARY News, has come under fire for hailing India as...

Battle of Kashmiri Queens: Queen Didda To Take On The Last Hindu Queen Of Kashmir Kota Rani In The Clash Of Bollywood

As Bollywood plans to make biopics on two female rulers of Kashmir -- Queen ‘Didda’ and the last Hindu queen, ‘Kota Rani’ -- nobody...

UN Under Fire For Leaking Info On Uighur, Tibetan & Hong-Kong Activists To China

The UN Human Rights Office is under fire for sharing the names of Chinese government opponents, including Uighur activists, Tibetans and Hongkongers, who took...

Indian Air Force Bets Big On Russian Jets; Set To Acquire More MiG-29, Su-30 MKI Fighters – Reports

The Indian Air Force is set to procure 21 MiG-29s and 12 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets from Russia. This development comes after the Indian...

UK, Germany, France Warn Iran Against Starting Work On Nuclear Program

Tensions between Iran and the EU nations including the UK, Germany and France have reached a fever pitch over Tehran’s decision to accelerate nuclear...